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Milutinovic urged to stay on as Iraq coach

SoccerNews in World Cup 21 Jun 2009

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Iraq Football Federation president Hussein Said Mohammed has urged Bora Milutinovic to stay on as coach of the national team and lead them to the 2011 Asian Cup.

The veteran Serb’s contract expired after the team was knocked out of the Confederations Cup following their 0-0 draw with New Zealand on Saturday.

Said told AFP he hoped Milutinovic would stay on.

“His contract was only for three months because it was difficult for him to come to live in or near Iraq with his family,” he said.

“But I hope he will continue with us, because we have the Asian Cup in 2011. He is not only an excellent technician but also a fine psychologist and someone who is very human and understands the situation in Iraq.”

Milutinovic, the only man to lead five different teams at the World Cup finals, took up the post on April 16 after Brazilian Jorvan Vieira was sacked.

He refused to comment on his future after the match on Saturday.

“It is not the right time to think about that,” he said.

“I’m just a humble coach who waits for the call and if it doesn’t come then I’ll get on with my life.”

Iraq, who will not play in the 2010 World Cup finals after failing to qualify, made it to the Confederations Cup by winning the Asian Cup in 2007, when the side was led by Vieira.

In his widely-travelled career, Milutinovic, 64, has taken Mexico to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1986, before also guiding Costa Rica (1990), USA (1994) and Nigeria (1998) to the second round.

He was also in charge of the China side which played in its first World Cup in 2002.

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